So we know that we can qualify/equate two things with a
- 友達のジョン → My friend John
- 先生の山田さん → A/My teacher Ms. Yamada
- 勝利者の亀さん → The winner: the turtle (as opposed to the hare)
It seems like most of the time, the
の can be replaced with
である without any change in meaning. Or is there some nuance where the meaning changes slightly? With
先生の山田さん, to me it has more of the sense of my teacher, whereas
先生である山田さん definitely does not. Does the
である necessarily diminish the personal-ness of the qualification, or does it just depend on what you happen to be talking about?
Further, we can go on to include the
なる connector as I discuss somewhat in this topic (“Grammatically-correct” particle-less phrases/sayings).
なる appears to add a little more formality, but other than that I can't really see what else it brings to the table. For example, in my Japanese Bible, I've seen the following when referring to God:
- 父なる神様 → God the/our Father; Father God
- 神である主【しゅ】 → Our Lord God
If I recall correctly, these were both instances (although appearing multiple times in the whole Bible) where someone was referring to God while speaking to other people. Is this likely just due to a different writing style by different Biblical authors, or is there really some subtle difference in meaning?
Finally, there is
たる which seems to be the most formal (?), most archaic (?), and mostly literary (?). Again, all I can tell is that I usually see this paired with some kind of recommendation / moral suggestion / responsibility.
- 教師たる者、忍耐力がなくてはならない → All teachers must have patience
- 学生たるもの、勉強すべきである → All students should study
Obviously if the meaning changes completely they are not interchangeable.
- (社長たる道 = 社長の道) ≠ 社長である道 ≠ 社長なる道
- Doesn't work because we're showing a possessive with the の, not equating.
So at what times are these connectors interchangeable, and what nuance(s) does each bring? Is my reasoning correct in any of these areas?